Accurate absolute GPS positioning through satellite clock error estimation

S. C. Han, J. H. Kwon, C. Jekeli

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

56 Scopus citations


An algorithm for very accurate absolute positioning through Global Positioning System (GPS) satellite clock estimation has been developed. Using International GPS Service (IGS) precise orbits and measurements, GPS clock errors were estimated at 30-s intervals. Compared to values determined by the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, the agreement was at the level of about 0.1 ns (3 cm). The clock error estimates were then applied to an absolute positioning algorithm in both static and kinematic modes. For the static case, an IGS station was selected and the coordinates were estimated every 30 s. The estimated absolute position coordinates and the known values had a mean difference of up to 18 cm with standard deviation less than 2 cm. For the kinematic case, data obtained every second from a GPS buoy were tested and the result from the absolute positioning was compared to a differential GPS (DGPS) solution. The mean differences between the coordinates estimated by the two methods are less than 40 cm and the standard deviations are less than 25 cm. It was verified that this poorer standard deviation on 1-s position results is due to the clock error interpolation from 30-s estimates with Selective Availability (SA). After SA was turned off, higher-rate clock error estimates (such as 1 s) could be obtained by a simple interpolation with negligible corruption. Therefore, the proposed absolute positioning technique can be used to within a few centimeters' precision at any rate by estimating 30-s satellite clock errors and interpolating them.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)33-43
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Geodesy
Issue number1
StatePublished - Apr 2001


  • Absolute positioning
  • Global positioning system (GPS)
  • Satelite clock error


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